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Using Generative AI

When to Use Generative AI

Imagine you're taking a test that requires you to solve mathematical questions. A calculator is an appropriate tool to use because it helps you solve mathematical equations more efficiently to answer test questions. But would it be appropriate to use a calculator when writing an essay on the French Revolution? 

If you use generative AI tools to create content, you should identify a specific reason to use these tools, such as generating questions to help you investigate a particular topic. AI tools have strengths and weaknesses, just like calculators. For example, McAfee, Rock, and Brynjolfsson described ways businesses can capitalize on generative AI.

The following flowchart developed by Aleksandr Tiulkanov can help you decide whether to use ChatGPT (or another generative AI tool).

flowchart to explore whether it matters that AI output is true, whether you have the expertise to evaluate it, and whether you are willing to take full responsibility for any inaccuracies

Image reproduced from Is It Safe to Use ChatGPT For Your Task? by Aleksandr Tiulkanov, which is licensed under CC BY

Using AI for Assignments

Always consult your course syllabus and your instructor about whether it is appropriate to use generative AI for your assignments.  

Attribution and acknowledgement are critical to ethical use of generative AI. If you use an AI tool to generate some elements of your coursework, the person who assesses it needs to know what is yours and what came from the AI tool. Check out the How to Cite AI page of this guide for detailed instructions on how to reference generative AI.

Key Considerations

Consider the following questions when deciding whether to use generative AI for your coursework:

  • Does the course syllabus or instructor provide information on whether or how to use generative AI tools?

  • Am I losing an opportunity to learn an essential skill by using a generative AI tool?

  • Will the generated content be in my final assignment?

  • How will I acknowledge and attribute my use of generative AI?

You should also consider the ethical issues with using generative AI. If you need more guidance around using generative AI in your assignments, contact your instructor.